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November 24, 2016

Navel-gazing and Turkey Day

Harry M. Covert

We can all be forgiven if navel-gazing and full stomachs are truly the order of today. The worries of the world and surrounding communities can be revitalized tomorrow.


In the meantime, let’s think about a hodgepodge of all sorts. I’ve always enjoyed using the word “potpourri” since the elegant broadcaster Paul Harvey began using it on the radio years ago on his daily commentaries. No one on the airways today comes close to him.


Apologies for a personal reference here. Once, some years ago, I decided to enter a political fray. What an experience. I did the normal stuff and started walking neighborhoods, knocking on doors and putting on my smiley faces, even buying a centerfield baseball stadium advertisement. I thought it’d be fun being in the Virginia State Senate. On one warm summer day, I greeted a sweet housewife in central Virginia to ask for her vote, really begging.


“Get off my porch, I know who you are,” she exclaimed with a scowl on her face. “You called my son out at home plate.”


I jumped off hurriedly, almost falling to the ground. I scuffed my nice blue suit with prickly tree limbs. She didn’t laugh, but wanted to, and threw the well-printed brochure with my dignified picture on the ground.


To update my by curriculum vitae for what it may be worth, I did enjoy my sideline of calling balls and strikes and outs on the high school and collegiate level for more than two decades, even several in the spring when snow was falling. No kidding.


When a Carolina League umpire almost choked to death on a big wad of chewing tobacco and bubble gum in the mid-1980s, I was called in. Yes, I was privileged, and the minor leaguers wanted to test my acumen immediately. At second base, a New York Mets farm hand missed tagging second base by a foot. I called the runner safe. Mr. Met stomped and threatened and said any umpire with any sense knows tagging the base isn’t necessary on a force out in the majors.


Well, I can report Mr. Dykstra didn’t accept the warning. In moments he was dismissed – thrown out of the game – and left the field with some sort of finger salute.


I dropped off a note of this campaign incident. A few days later I was plugged on Paul Harvey News early morning and noon shows. We didn’t have twitter in those days. I sure had fun later acting like a big shot on the trail. It didn’t last long, the voters sent me packing. Back to the baseball diamonds I went for a few seasons and made enough game checks to pay off political debts. A commentator nowadays has its advantages.


Navel-gazing can be fun on this day of the three “effs” – food, fun and family.


Think of life experiences on this great day! There are so many stories to tell. Reach back on those times. Years may be slipping by rapidly for us. We all have exciting events to recall and bring smiles to our faces.


Before Turkey Day was invaded by professional football games, there were tremendous high school rivalries where crowds were exhilarating beyond measure. In my day Thanksgiving was a true holiday. No stores for shopping. The games started at 2 P.M., everybody in their finest and dinners delayed until the evening.


Today, we can still daydream, but remember that the coming year will be filled with all kinds of opportunities, some good and some not-so-good.


Guesses perhaps: Who will be the next Frederick mayor? Will the Frederick County charter government be changed? Will the Frederick Keys, Baltimore Orioles and Ravens, Washington Nationals and Redskins win championships? Will Gov. Larry Hogan get a second term? Will Frederick Towne Mall ever be reconstituted? Will the proposed downtown Frederick Convention Center get off the ground? Will State’s Attorney Charlie Smith be appointed to the Maryland Court of Appeals? Will Hayden Duke be elected alderman?


The list goes on. I’m taking notes.


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